Today, I said goodbye to my dog Pal, my best friend of almost 16 years.
If you're reading this, you're most likely a friend of mine, a friend of Pal's, or a "pet person" who actually understands the grief you suffer when saying good bye to unconditional Love. Because that's exactly what dogs really are. Unconditional Love that you simply won't get from anyone else in that capacity. And Pal was the ultimate giver of that Love to me, and others who knew her.
Page and I rescued Pal from the Toronto Humane Society back in March 2000. I say we rescued Pal, but that's probably not accurate because I know now that she rescued us. From the moment I laid eyes on this little border collie/sheltie with Baby New Year ears, she had me. We had to come back the next day to pick her up, and I didn't sleep much that night. We woke up early, and were the first in line to adopt her. Good thing, because there were 2 disappointed people behind us that wanted to adopt her.
So Pal became part of my soul right then and there.
If anyone knows me, they know that I took Pal with me everywhere I went. She rode shotgun with me, and Loved every drive through we ever stopped at for ice cream or any other treat. She was also the fastest dog I had ever seen! I could've raced her against grey hounds, and they wouldn't have stood a chance. In fact, she had so much energy, I hooked her up a body harness and put my rollerblades on, and she would pull me to work everyday, there and back. It was like I was water skiing behind her, and the look on people's faces watching it was priceless.
I could tell you story after story about this little dog, about her 9 lives, about her life of almost 16 wonderful years, but I will remember Pal for how she Loved my daughter the most. When Kennedy was born, Pal gave up her normal sleeping space to sleep under Kennedy's crib. When I would wake up in the middle of the night to tend to Kennedy, I would often step on Pal at the foot of the crib where she would be sleeping. Tough little dog...
Some of the most wonderful memories I have are watching Pal herd Kennedy running in my backyard, running and barking at her in excitement, all the while protecting Kennedy in her little border collie way. I would watch my daughter bond with Pal whenever we would sing the Paligirl song to her, and watch her ears dance in acknowledgment, then bring it in for some nose kisses.
It's sick how much we Loved this dog...
It would be a real disservice to write this and not thank everyone who ever watched Pal, walked her, spent time or Loved her. I know that I was able to share as much time with her because Page thought of Pal's well being. I know that Alison allowed me to bring Pal everywhere. Silja adopted Pal just the same, and Loved her in a way that only Pal needed to be Loved by a female.
I am going to miss this little dog SO much, and if you know me well, you'll know exactly how much. I'm certain to never have another dog whom I will connect with as intimately well as I did with Pal. Sometimes when I would get drunk, I would come home and have her lie on my chest and I would say to her, "OK, there's nobody around... I KNOW you can talk. I won't tell anyone, I promise. Your secret is safe with me Pal, just talk to me." So would tilt her head sideways as she did, and I would smile. God, I Loved that dog...
I'm grateful for the staff at the Toronto Humane Society for uniting us, and for their support and kindness when I brought Pal back there this morning. I am grateful that I got to say the proper goodbye to my furry soul mate. I got to pet, soothe and hold her as we said our farewells as she crossed over.
Farewell my furry friend. Off you go to run in open fields, chasing ball, herding other dogs, sniffing butts and rolling in shit without me yelling at you. Thank you for giving this boy your entire heart, and Loving me and my family. I'll never forget you.
God speed until we meet again Paligirl...